Getting Around

How to use the T-10 travel ticket in Barcelona

17th February 2016

One of the many wonderful aspects of life in Barcelona is the public transport network.

If visiting from the United States or the UK you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how clean, comfortable, convenient and reliable the local transport network is.

The quantity and quality of passenger information, in Spanish, Catalan and English (and some French) is very good. 

The best way to get around the city is to use public transport.

One of the first things to do after arriving in the city is to buy a T-10 integrated transport ticket — it will save you a ton of money and a lot of hassle. 

In a previous post I explained why you should consider buying a T-10 ticket when visiting Barcelona. I also told you where you can buy a T-10.

However, partly as a resuIt of a friend’s mishaps during a recent visit to Barcelona, I’ve since realised that I overlooked to tell you HOW to use the T-10.

I use a T-10 at least twice, sometimes  five or six times every day during the working week. It really is quite simple, however, I can understand how visitors from an area without an integrated transport system could feel a little daunted by the process.

So, here’s a guide to using the mighty T-10.

How to use the T-10 on the Metro (subway), local trains (RENFE Rodalies/Cercanias and FGC) and Funiculars:

First, buy your ticket.

There are not many staffed ticket offices where you can buy a ticket, and if you haven’t already purchased your T-10 at a tobacconists, newsagent or news kiosk (street newsstand) (some bakeries and other shops also sell T-10s) you will have to use a machine in a Metro station or at a Tram stop — these machines will be marked with the TMB logo (as in the photo below). You can also buy a T-10 at ticket machines at RENFE (Spanish national rail service) rail stations (these machines are coloured grey) and at FGC (Catalan national rail service) rail stations — these machines are coloured orange.

There are also a few ticket machines near bus stops on Diagonal, however these machines only accept credit/debit cards, and are so few and far between that they are not worth your time looking for.

  • Search the touchscreen for the T-10 ticket icon.
  • In the bottom right corner of the screen you’ll see four flag icons indicating which languages are available: Catalan, Spanish, English and French. Tap the union jack for English.
  • Tap the T-10 ticket icon.
  • The screen will change and show you the current price (10,20€) and give you the option of buying multiple tickets by tapping the + symbol on the left of the screen.
  • You are also able to change the Zone by using the + and symbols on the right of the screen.
  • Make sure you have the correct quantity and Zone and tap Confirm in the bottom left of the screen, or Cancel in the bottom right of the screen if you have made a mistake.
  • The screen will change and show you the total cost of the  the ticket(s) and how much you have to pay in red.

These three images illustrate the above:

English T-10

TMB no 50€

 

TMB2

BUY WITH CASH

Insert coins in the vertical slot above the screen, or insert a note (bill) up to the value of 20€ in the horizontal slot to the right of the screen, or if buying more than two T-10s, multiple notes/bills. (Please note: As at writing most machines do not accept 50€ notes/bills).

The most frequent cause of first-time users’ frustration is incorrectly inserting notes/bills.

TMB4

When inserting notes/bills be careful to place the note the correct way up as shown in the graphic above the slot.

TMB 5

The machine will issue change and deposit your ticket in the tray below the screen. You’re good to go.

BUY WITH CREDIT/DEBIT CARD

  • Find the T-10 icon on the touchscreen.
  • Tap the T-10 icon.
  • Select how many tickets you require and which Zone you require using the + symbols.
  • Place  your card in the horizontal slot to the right of the touchscreen.
  • The machine will read your card and accept or deny  it.
  • Then, on the card reader screen you will see the instruction to enter your PIN number using the keypad and the OK button, marked with a green tag in the bottom right of the keypad.
  • Then, all being well, you will see a message on the card reader screen,”Mastercard (or whatever your card name is) XXXX with the amount that has been paid.
  • Then, you will see the instruction ‘Extregui’ telling you to extract your card. Remove your card.
  • The machine will deposit your ticket in the tray below the touchscreen.

IMPORTANT: Remember to remove your card. The machine does not emit any audible warning, as do ATMs, if you leave the card in the slot. If you do inadvertently leave your card in the machine then after 30 seconds or so the machine will swallow your card. If this happens the only way to retrieve your card is to go to the TMB customer services office in Diagonal metro station the following day. Station staff do not have any way of opening the machines — they can only be opened by cash collection staff.

Ok, so you’ve got your ticket…now, how to use it.

There are 3 types of ticket barriers:

  • Turnstiles: These are the most common.
  • Plexiglass doors: These are usually found in recently built or refurbished stations.
  • Extra-wide plexiglass access points: For people in wheelchairs or electric buggies and people with child buggies or bicycles and/or lots of luggage.

Turnstiles

  • Place your T-10 the correct way up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the slot at the back of the machine.
  • Pass through the turnstile to your RIGHT as indicated by the black arrow in the photo below.

TMB, Barcelona metro turnstilePlexiglass doors

  • Place your T-10 face up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) and with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the yellow plastic horizontal slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the pop-up slot.
  • Pass through the plexiglass doors to your LEFT as indicated by the two illuminated green arrows in the photo below.

TMBPlexiglass

 

You’re on your way…now go find your platform/track.

How to use the T-10 on the bus network:

  • Buy your T-10 as above. Bus drivers cannot sell you a T-10 — they can only sell a senzill (single/one-way) ticket (2.20€).
  • Get on the bus at the front of the bus, NOT the middle nor the back. Having said, that the newer articulated (‘bendy’) busses do allow passengers to enter the bus using the middle door. These busses have middle doors with a flashing green button, similar to the buttons on many Metro carriages.
  • Say ‘Hola’ to the driver and smile or nod.
  • As you file along the gangway you’ll immediately see two ticket machines — one on your left and one on your right. Be aware that the newer articulated (‘bendy’) busses have three ticket machines.
  • Insert your T-10 with the white arrow pointing downwards into the red slot at the top of the machine.
  • The machine will make a sound and tell you how many rides you have left and your ticket will pop up.
  • Remove your ticket, put it somewhere safe and find a seat, or shuffle along the bus.
  • IF your ticket is used-up or defective the machine will make a loud intermittent beep. This is when you panic, frisk yourself for another T-10, realise you don’t have one, and before you can decide to backtrack and get off the bus the doors are already closed and the bus is on its way to the next stop. Oh no! 
  • IF this is the case — choose an appropriate moment, dip into your pocket and find 2,20€ in change and pay the driver for a single/one-way ticket.
  • Say thank you/gràcies to the driver and take deep breath of relief — they have just saved you from a potential fine of 100€.

[Remember — a T-10 is a multi-person ticket. So, if you have no rides left on your T-10, and travelling with a friend, you could always ask to use their ticket.]

 Here’s a photo of a ticket machine on a bus: 

TMB BUS MACHINE

 

How to use the T-10 on a tram:

  • Buy your T-10 from a machine as described above, or from a machine at the stop.
  • Board the tram.
  • Find a machine (very similar to the machines on a bus) which are attached to poles near every door
  • Insert your ticket in the slot with the white arrow pointing downwards.
  • The machine will make a sound (described as a ‘bip’ in the helpful information).
  • That’s it…you’re on your way.

TMB TRAM MACHINE

Transfers and duration of travel:

You need to know that you can use the T-10 to switch between various modes of transport on your route for up to 1 hour and 15 minutes and it counts as a single journey/ride.

For example, you could take a barrio bus (local public mini-bus) to connect with a regular bus to connect with the metro to then connect with the tram which connects with a local train which connects with a funicular — if you do all that in one hour and fifteen minutes from the start of your journey it only debits your ticket by one journey. However, note that once you leave the metro system you will have to use another journey when re-entering the metro.

IMPORTANT: Keep your ticket flat. If the ticket gets bent or torn then it will likely not work. You can take your damaged ticket to a TMB Customer Services office (in Diagonal, La Sagrera and Universitat metro stations) and they will issue you with another ticket. You could also ask at an office in a metro station — if you’re patient and polite the staff can, though they are not obliged to, issue you with a new ticket with the correct number of journeys.


LINKS:

Visiting Barcelona? What you need know about the T-10 in Barcelona.

Spotted by Locals Barcelona: Go By Bus.

TMB: The T-10

TMB: Customer Services.

TMB: Metro and Tram map

TMB: Bus map

TMB: H & V network Bus map.

 

Enjoy getting around Barcelona

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12 Comments

  • Reply Ryan Price 26th April 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Useful article! One question – if the T-10 is a multi-person ticket how do more than 1 person use it to go through the barriers at a metro station? And on a bus / tram I presume you need to validate once for each person?

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 26th April 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Ryan, after the first person has passed through the barrier they pass the T-10 back to the person behind. Or, alternatively, (say, when travelling with youngsters) someone puts the T-1o through the card reader, steps aside and lets the other person go through, retrieves T-10, makes sure the barrier has closed then puts the T-10 through as normal and walks through. Dead simple. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. Yes, on the bus and tram you must validate the T-10 for each person travelling. Hope that’s useful. Enjoy your visit to Barcelona. All the best.

  • Reply Brian Lee 15th August 2017 at 4:47 am

    Useful article! One question – Can I use a credit card without a PIN number to buy T-10 from the ticket machine?

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 16th August 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Brian, assuming you mean as in a Touch’n’Go or Contactless type payment operation, then NO, you cannot currently use a credit card or debit card without inputting your PIN number when buying TMB tickets.
      A very good friend works for the company which supplies the machines that process notes and dispenses change for the TMB. I asked him your question yesterday as we wandered the streets of Gràcia. He tells me that there are plans in motion to install a more ‘frictionless’ (to use a word of the day) system, akin to London’s Oyster card system, within the next two years. Which, ironically, will threaten his company’s profits as they currently specialise in designing and developing cash payment systems. Regards.

  • Reply Julian Henson 17th February 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Bill
    This information is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing.
    We are visiting Barcelona for the first time next week & staying at the Gran Hotel La Florida, near Tibidabo. They have told me to catch the T2A bus up to the hotel from Plaça Catalunya, but I’ve read somewhere that that bus doesn’t run when the park isn’t open & I don’t think that is until March. Help! What should I do?
    Any help would be gratefully received.
    Kind regards, Julian

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 18th February 2018 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Julian. Thanks for your encouraging comments.
      Must confess I was a bit confused when I first read your query as I had to research Hotel Florida for an article a couple of years ago and from what I recall Hotel Florida offers a complimentary shuttle service in and out of the city. And, if I were a guest there I would expect nothing less.
      (For other readers’ information: Hotel Florida is a luxury five star hotel set on the Collserola ridge with a commanding view of the city and, as Julian mentions, quite near the amusement park at Tibidabo.)

      So, I do not wholly understand why hotel staff are telling you to use the T2A bus up to Tibidabo. I checked, and sure enough, came up with this link to their shuttle service: https://www.hotelfloridabarcelona.com/en/hotel/shuttle-barcelona

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/3wx19cn6res2tih/Screen%20Shot%202018-02-18%20at%2023.43.21.png?dl=0

      May not wholly understand but I am not over-surprised. Quality of service in many five-star hotels in Barcelona is not on a par with similarly ranked establishments in other major cities. During research undertaken about two years ago quality of service, or lack of, in the luxury hotel and leisure sector in Barcelona kept cropping up amid comments made by guests.

      If I were the Manager of a five-star establishment in Barcelona I’d find the wherewithal to run complimentary shuttles from airport, port, Sants and Passeig de Gràcia rail stations- just saying.

      You ask what you should do — here’s what you should do: get on the phone and reserve a shuttle.
      Please note that their instructions refer to the shuttle meeting point being at Rey Juan Carlos 1 Square (where Passeig de Gràcia meets Diagonal). I have NEVER EVER heard anyone refer to the location as such — locals, including the city bus company — refer to the location as either Els Jardinets (strictly speaking the area just above Diagonal) or Cinc d’Oros.

      You don’t say whether arriving by plane, train or ship, nor do you mention what time you arrive, so, getting from your arrival point to Cinc d’Oros is straightforward enough but another story.

      Just for interest, esteemed, or, rather, notorious former guests at Hotel Florida include Himmler — yes — the very same Himmler who oversaw the Final Solution. He was moved to the location during his visit to the city after having had his wallet stolen when staying at the the Ritz Hotel! True story.

      Hope that’s useful. If not drop me another line or two.

      Enjoy your visit to Barcelona.

  • Reply Paul 19th February 2018 at 10:51 am

    Hello Bill,

    Nice explanation of the T10 system.
    Just one question. When I change , e.g. from metro to bus, do I put the ticket in the machine again when entering the new transport ?
    Thank you!
    grtz Paul

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 19th February 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Paul, YES — you must validate your T-10 ticket each and every time you change modes of transport, for example from bus to tram, and when changing from one bus to another or one tram and another.
      However, be aware that when you leave the metro system you will need to use another of your available journeys when you re-enter the system. An example: say you begin your journey at Sagrada Familia on the Line 5 (Blue) metro travel to Diagonal where you switch lines to Line 3 (Green) then on leaving the metro station you take a bus, say, three stops to another Metro station — that is one journey. As soon as you enter the metro station and put your ticket in the machine the T-10 will re-set and deduct another journey start — you could then, again change to a bus, a tram, a funicular or local train to complete your journey
      .
      With a T-10 you can travel, for example, bus, metro, funicular, bus, tram and bus again and local train — all one journey, but you cannot travel metro, bus, tram, train, funicular, metro — that’s two journeys.

      Hope that’s useful. It’s not as confusing as it may sound. You’ll get the hang of it easy enough.Just remember to put your ticket through a machine every time you change your mode of transport.

      Enjoy your visit to Barcelona.

  • Reply Paul 1st March 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you!
    Perfect info for travelling. It worked out great.
    Beautiful city!

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 1st March 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for letting me know. Glad your trip worked out ok. Barcelona is indeed a beautiful city…even when it’s snowing!

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